Yesterday I had the privilege to do the first Trancedance with two amazing musicians; my cousin Walter and a friend that already does these dances on a regulare basis: Lerant. It was my first Trancedance as a singer, and even though I was not too worried about singing at this event, I was a bit intimidated by the technical ‘skills’ of these boys. Not only did they have the technique to figure out, but also the musical components.
It left me feeling like a bit of an idiot when they were setting up and talking about how they were going to route this and that through amp this and that with jacks and ..ehm… See I already forgot again! Since I was mainly the singer, there wasn’t much to set up, making me feel even more inadequate because they not only had all this wiring to do, but also a load of instruments to set up. To add insult to injury, I somehow ended up in the middle of them with only me and my keyboard to hide behind while to the left and right of me a wild array of instruments were placed showing how completely amazing they were…
But to be honest, that wasn’t my biggest worry….. What really got me freaked and scared of doing this performance was that I had promised, at their request, to bring and play my keyboard during the concert. And not only bring it but to actually not use it as an ornament but an actual instrument that I was suppose to play!!…..Well how could I say ‘no’ while they were in the midst of an army of instruments to accompany them. It just felt impossible to say: ‘you know what, you guys go ahead, but I will stick to my voice only’. Besides, we really needed some kind of ‘drone’ as a constant throughout the concert. So here I was setting up my very expensive and elaborate keyboard, that probably is only bought and brought by people who know what the hell they are doing… I can only imagine that it gave the impression of just that…but here comes the kicker: I don’t know how to play the damn instrument! I mean, I did intend to learn to play it, but I guess I never made it passed the ‘intend’ part of it.
At home I have a guitar, a keyboard and a range of other instruments, that I had bought in the past, thinking that this time was going to be different, because this time I was actually going to learn how to play it. For the keyboard, this was 4 years ago and apart from 10 minutes here and there I really didn’t know much about it, and what it was capable of. The same is true for the guitar, that besides the basics chords I never really explored because it was getting to be practice and I hate that!.. And the same with the didgeridoo and the…..well, anyway….you catch my drift…..
So here I was, sitting in the dead smack middle of two very capable musicians left and right of me and me… Seeing the buttons of the keyboard lighting up after I pushed the ‘on’ button thinking: ‘what the hell am I doing?’ This thing has MANY buttons and MANY options, that suddenly felt like an ocean of sound that I was going to drown in… And not only that….I had to do it for a live, paying audience. Needless to say I had to swallow a few times and internally push myself to believe it would all work out just fine.
This all hadn’t gone unnoticed by the two players who felt I was not just a tad but extremely nervous. They ofcourse shared this with the most precaution and love, not to rock me off even more and I honor them for that, but nothing short of throwing the keyboard out of the window was going to fix this any time soon. When I had arrived I could already feel the nervousness and had shared this with Walter who has worked with me on many occasions and didn’t recognize the nerves I was talking about and downgraded my ‘scared shitless’ to a ‘normal performance anxiety’…. I tried to explain it wasn’t just nerves….it was sheer fear!!! But he was already in the mindset that the-always-on-top-of-things-Iris couldn’t really be scared!!
So to make a long story even longer…. It felt like forever for these guys to set up and just when we were all set up and ready to give it a testrun (which I felt could at least calm me enough to start)…. All these people started showing up and the ADHD in Walter kicked in, making him forget we had even planned to tune in and do a short musical practice… Ofcourse by that time also the ‘participants’ showed up and besides tuning into eachother and me fiddling with the buttons that I had no idea of what to do with for the longest time, I had to give up and surrender.
And I did….I can’t say that I am proud of my playing because besides hitting a few notes here and there I didn’t do much interesting with it. You see, when I was practising the pushing buttons, I hit the wrong one a couple of times, changing a beautiful and serene ambience into sneering guitars of a heavy metal band…god knows I didn’t want that to happen at the concert!!! So I tried to keep it as low-key as possible while still participating.
So I bluffed, and I bluffed good….apparantly… Because the concert was amazing…. it makes me so happy to make intuitive music like that. When there is no structure that I have to follow, besides the music that shows up in the moment itself. I let go and let my singing guide me. It made me so happy to express myself in exactly the manner that fits me like a glove in this NOW… My heart and soul longs for this on a bigger scale…and as a living…YES… It would make me HAPPY… It is the dream I longed for all my life but didn’t know I had until it showed up in my life…. So I say yesssss!!
So now I have a new priority on my list of things to do…one that had been on there for years and kept being pulled further down on the list: learning to play the keyboard…or at least cope. 🙂